Larry Rosin

New Edison Research videos show a “barrage of new” in connected cars

Monday, October 28, 2013 - 11:55am

Seeking insight to how new-car owners are coping with modern infotainment systems built into digital dashboards, Edison Research has produced video interviews with recent buyers. (Watch the videos here.) Unlike the eye-opening videos of prospective buyers trying to turn on the radio for the first time, shown at the Radio Show in Orlando, the subjects of Edison’s videos have had some number of months to learn and adapt to expanded listening choices in the car.

We spoke to Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research, to ask about key takeaways.

RAIN: You spoke with new-car owners who have been dealing with sophisticated dashboards for several months. What did you learn?

LR: The average car on the road is 11 or 12 years old; most of these people had traded in 10- or 11-year-old cars. So they’re excited by the prospect of a new car, and by the systems that are baked into these cars. They’ve gone from the alpha to the omega of the [dashboard] experience. They get hit with what I call a "barrage of new.” Lots of new things. In every one of these cases, on top of these dash systems -- connection with their phones, or embedded 4G -- they get a free trial subscription to SiriusXM. Lots of new things are coming through to them. We see in the videos very significant changes in behavior.

For broadcast radio, those guys are fighting the “barrage of new.’” And I don’t think we think enough in the broadcast radio industry about “new.” We seldom launch new shows, we seldom launch new formats, we seldom come out with new initiatives. In many ways we’ve come to represent the opposite of New. I think that’s a dangerous prospect.

RAIN: To what extent do you think the Barrage of New will stick with new-car buyers? For example, how long had these people owned their new cars, and were they still in the trial satellite subscriptions?

LR: In some cases the trials had lapsed, and some of them had not renewed. We asked people to project into the future, and of course that’s hard for people to do. But I think these people are forever changed in their behaviors. They all came from cars where AM/FM was the only [listening] option, except for CDs -- and in one case, cassettes. [Now they’re in a world where] their phone, their iPod, their own music was readily available in the car, and streamed music was easy to access also. They’re taking advantage of that. In the videos they seem excited about what they can do.

If you watch the videos, [the subjects] still do turn to radio. Every respondent said they do turn to radio for unique, compelling content they cannot get from streaming audio or satellite radio. News reports, traffic reports, weather, personalities, sports, public radio.

RAIN: Do you think that encourages radio as an industry to double down on its legacy values of news, traffic, and weather -- as opposed to developing new content?

LR: No. Not at all. Of course we should stress things like news, traffic, weather, and personalities. But I think it compels radio to say “What other content beyond all that can be unique and compelling in a much more competitive environment?”

RAIN: One of your subjects made a remark that must feel like hitting a wall for radio professionals who see these videos. The subject said, “I don’t listen to radio anymore because I don’t have to.”

LR: Yes, but I wonder whether that is over-interpreted. Clearly it came down hard, but I’m not sure that woman meant it with nasty connotations. She had a ten-year-old car, where radio was the only option. She was merely pointing out that she went from a world of one option to a world of many options.

RAIN: Even though the new dashboards are difficult for your subjects to learn and master, it appeared there was no desire for a return to simpler controls.

LR: There was definitely an adjustment period. Nobody said they wanted to go back.

RAIN: Your videos, and others, seem to illustrate that voice control really doesn’t work yet. Perhaps it will be an important factor in safe connected cars, but presently isn’t effective. Do you agree?

LR: I have no doubt it’s gotten better, but the people in these videos who have it, are really struggling with it. I can also say this: Not having had the benefit of time that these people have (and they’re still struggling with it), I’ve been in cars where I’ve tried to synch my phone to the car, and I simply could not do it. I took out the manual and gave it a serious effort. I simply could not do it. As of today [phone pairing] is just terrible.

RAIN: Have you gotten a sense from the radio people what their emotional reaction is to these videos? Is there denial?

LR: In all honesty, I think the denial period is rapidly coming to an end. It’s not that long ago, when there was a Code of Omerta in the radio industry, where if you point out a problem, you are the problem. If you look at the tone of the Radio Show in Orlando, and the tone of DASH in Detroit, and the general tone, the era in which denial is the only acceptable approach is over, or ending quickly. An attitude is emerging in which it’s a competitive world and we have to compete smart and compete strong. A healthier attitude is emerging.

INTERVIEW: Larry Rosin, President of Edison Research

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 11:55am

Larry Rosin authored a new Edison Research package titled “The New MainStream,” a study of Internet radio listening. (See the slides here, and RAIN's initial coverage here.) The survey was presented at this week’s Advertising Week conference in New York, in collaboration with the Streaming Audio Task Force.

RAIN spoke with Larry Rosin about the study’s genesis and reception, the impact of Internet radio on AM/FM listening, the variety of user preferences, and, unexpectedly, 1970s research that led to the introduction of cable television in the U.K.

Here are excerpts of the conversation, lightly edited for readability.

RAIN: Can you describe the history of this study?

LR: I was contacted by the three companies on the Streaming Audio Task Force, looking for a data set dedicated to the topic of streaming audio, to create a benchmark for where things stand among the online population of the U.S. Ideally it will be repeated annually, to track the dynamic aspects of this space.

RAIN: How was it received at its introduction at Advertising Week in New York? Was there was good engagement?

LR: Very much so. Questions during and afterwards. I thought it went over really well. I think it was a logical story that hit people’s guts, made sense, and was a positive and upbeat story. I emphasized that audio is a booming category. I don’t think it had ever been put the way I put it, perhaps as forcefully. People seemed to be very open to that point of view.

RAIN: Did you discern any surprise around the 53-percent metric? [53 percent of online Americans listen to Internet radio.]

LR: Not really. I didn’t meet any resistance, and it didn’t seem to register as much higher than the audience thought it would be. I didn’t do the game-show technique of asking people to guess what the number might be.

RAIN: One key point is the amount of displacement of broadcast listening that it might represent, and the amount of listening that has been added to the day, thanks to mobile devices.

LR: There are certain people who would have you believe that not one second of online usage comes from time that was previously spent on broadcast radio. And there are people who assume that 100% of internet radio time comes straight out of broadcast radio. Of course, both are wrong. It turns out, both about equally wrong. I think it’s important to note that our study confirms what Arbitron reports about the reach of broadcast. We got virtually the exact same number that Arbitron reports for the reach of broadcast radio. But online radio has a considerable reach as well. And while the total time spent listening to broadcast radio is clearly down somewhat, not anywhere close to all the time [spent on] internet radio comes straight from AM/FM radio.

The overwhelming point is: this technology has brought audio to new places, new locations, and new times in people’s lives that they weren’t previously filling in with audio. This is a golden age of audio. If all audio were counted, people would see that never before -- probably even going back to the twenties and thirties when radio had no competition -- there is more audio listening going on today than ever before.

RAIN: Would you say there are two viewpoints, and two marketing approaches: One is reach, and the other is time spent? Things look different depending on which vantage you’re using.

LR: Correct. But it’s not a wholesale transference. The pie has absolutely expanded. I truly believe that advertisers should be shifting more money into the audio space. Then let the players in the audio space hash it out in that greater pool of money. The line which has been used for years, that the amount of time people spend with audio relative to the amount of revenue audio gets, is dead on. In fact, that discrepancy is probably worse than ever, as audio continues to expand. I am proud to be an evangelist for advertisers taking money from other verticals and putting more of it into the audio space.

RAIN: It seems that choice is a thread that runs through many of the survey responses. Choice of stations, choice of tracks, etc. Are choice and customization the main differentiators of Internet radio?

LR: They are slightly different things, but yes. They are two of the things that really matter to people. But there are other [reasons to choose Internet radio] that people might find surprising. A lot of people mentioned better sound quality, or reception, if you will. A lot of people are transferring listening to their favorite over-the-air radio station to I.P. because they can hear it better. In this day and age, with a lot of RF in office buildings, a lot of interference, for many people the Internet is a better way to listen.

Another reason [survey respondents choose Internet radio], in services like Pandora and Spotify, is the ability to skip songs, [which is] a powerful differentiator of their experience. It repositions the experience of linear listening. It changes the way you relate to what you’re listening to. It’s not unlike a DVR. If you’re accustomed to pausing live TV, and then you’re in a hotel room and you lose that capability, it can be frustrating to shift back. It’s a similar situation [in radio listening]; it’s hard to shift back.

RAIN: What you’re saying is parallel to how media consumption has been developing for years, getting more granular in the choices offered to consumers.

LR: I’ll tell you an anecdote. In the late-1970s or early-1980s, a research company did a study in the U.K. about television, and whether there would be a market for cable television in the U.K. At that time television sets in Great Britain had four buttons on them. There were four television stations. That’s how you watched it. They did a survey. People’s overwhelming response was, “What more could we possibly want? We’ve got FOUR choices at any given time!” People’s imaginations couldn’t conceive of wanting more than four channels. Undaunted by this research, and seeing what was going on in the U.S., they launched cable television in the U.K. Suddenly, people were like, “Oh, wait a second here. There’s a 24-hour news channel?”

Very few people are against more choice. [But] there is a paradox of choice. Too many choices [can be] stressful and overwhelming. Seems like, in media, very few people feel that way.

RAIN: TV in America used to be four channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, and public television.

LR: Oh yeah.

RAIN: There are different postures of Internet listening: lean forward, lean back, and various postures in between. Your data seem to show that an in-between attitude -- for example, leaning forward to create an artist-based station, then leaning back to listen -- has the highest usage metric. Is that correct?

LR: Right. But there’s a lot that goes into that. Certain platforms and products have had a nice running start, and have developed that. It’s fascinating to track. Your thesis could very well be correct. Or, it could just be a moment in time, and those numbers might change.

Vegas conference to feature Edison's Rosin, Aha's Acker and Rhapsody's Benzing

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 11:15am

Larry RosinToday RAIN announces the addition of three more industry executives to the agenda of RAIN Summit West 2012: Edison Research Co-founder and President Larry Rosin, Aha GM and Vice President Robert Acker and Rhapsody Chief Product Officer Brendan Benzing.

The conference takes place Sunday, April 15 in Las Vegas (more info below).

Larry Rosin (pictured right) has been involved with media for over 20 years, the last sixteen in audience research. Rosin has been recognized as one of the leading thinkers in the field, and advises many of the world’s largest media companies, including Time Warner, Sony, Disney/ABC and EMAP. Rosin founded Edison Research in 1994 and has been a primary force in building the company into one of the world’s largest and most respected media research companies.

Robert AckerRobert Acker (pictured left) has been a pioneering entrepreneur in the connected car space for over 14 years. In his current role, Acker and his team are working to revolutionize radio for today’s connected consumer. Aha organizes content from the web into personalized radio stations that consumers can listen to from anywhere, including from the driver’s seat.

Brendan BenzingBrendan Benzing (pictured right) oversees the design, creation and improvement of the Rhapsody product and service, as well as its marketing and communications efforts. His media career spans 19 years, including over a decade directing development of subscription-based and ad-supported media products for the PC, TV and mobile platforms.

Other speakers set to appear at RAIN Summit West 2012 include Spotify VP of U.S. Ad Sales Jon Mitchell, Katz360 Sales President Brian Benedik, Pandora SVP of Advertising Sales Steven Kritzman and many others.

ESPN SVP of Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote the conference. RAIN will announce more speakers and panel topics in the coming weeks.

RAIN Summit West 2012RAIN Summit West will take place on Sunday, April 15 at the former Las Vegas Hilton, now called the LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. It will conclude with the always-anticipated tradition of the poolside RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

The Summit is an official “Co-Located Education Program” of the NAB Show. Registration includes access to the NAB Show Exhibit Hall and a catered box lunch. RAIN registrants can save $100 on NAB registration.

For registration and sponsorship information, visit kurthanson.com/rainsummitwest.

Other RAIN Summits are planned for later this year in Dallas (at the RAB/NAB Radio Show) on September 18th, in Minneapolis (at the Conclave) on July 20, and in Berlin, Germany on October 5th.

Fans identify DJs as one of AM/FM's "big advantages" over web radio

Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 12:20pm

Edison's slide on Internet radio servicesMore than half of Country radio P1s have heard of Pandora, according to new data from Edison Research. About the same percentage point to DJs as one of AM/FM's primary advantages over Internet radio.

The information was presented yesterday by Edison Co-founder and President Larry Rosin at the Country Radio Seminar.

Edison's survey of 1,000 Country radio fans found that 53% of P1s had heard of Pandora and 6% "frequently" listen to it. Comparitively, 64% of non-Country P1s had heard of Pandora and 13% use it frequently (both compared to 67%/56% who say they listen to AM/FM frequently, respectively).

The survey also asked respondents about iHeartRadio: 23% of Country P1s had heard of the service, with 2% using it frequently. For non-Country P1s, the percentages were 31% and 2%. Finally, 8% of Country P1s had heard of Spotiy, compared to 15% of non-Country P1s.

What keeps Country radio fans listening to AM/FM stations? "Live, local DJs are one of the big advantages that radio has over Internet and satellite outlets... Both P1s and non-P1s are generally equally as enthusiastic about DJs. Half of both groups say that DJs are a prime reason that AM/FM radio is better than internet radio," said Rosin.

"I have watched with bemusement as the radio industry has engaged in a philosophical discussion of 'what is radio?' Who cares? DJs, in my opinion, are the only real competitive advantage we have [in terrestrial radio]. Every time we voice track a daypart or fire an air personality, we are shaving away our competitive advantage."

You can find more coverage in Radio-Info here. Edison Research has posted its presentation slides and videos online here.

 

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